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Tejvan Pettinger – Cracking Economics review

Excellent introduction to economics in easy-to-understand chapters.

Cracking EconomicsDo you ever get confused when presenters and newsreaders talk about fiscal policy, quantitative easing, inflation and the Laffer Curve? Do you know that you’re definitely 100% against austerity, but you could do with understanding what austerity is? If so, Cracking Economics is the book for you. It’s a fantastic basic introduction to how governments manage (or mismanage) a nation’s finances.

This is your “in a nutshell” guide to the murky world of money. Cracking Economics gently takes readers through the different economic theories that have been tried and tested, discarded and then tried again over the years (usually with the same disastrous consequences). With excellent illustrations on every page, and handy infographics to back up the text, Cracking Economics is the ideal way to dip your toe into grasping how economies function and the role of the state versus business.

Author Tejvan Pettinger talks confidently and with enthusiasm about complex topics, but with most being covered in only two pages, he never over-explains or goes into too much detail. The book is cleverly structured. Each subject is given a heading and a bolded paragraph that is a dictionary definition summary of what the topic means. The rest of the two pages goes into further detail. The simple but highly effective format extends across three hundred pages.

We thoroughly enjoyed reading Cracking Economics. Pettinger’s passion for his subject translates onto the page, though he commendably keeps his own views in the background for the most part. You won’t find him firmly coming down firmly on the side of free trade, captialism, socialism or Marxism, though he does point out historical examples of phenomena such as hyperinflation (the late Weimar Republic in Germany where a wheelbarrow was worth more than the piles of cash it was carrying) and the reasons for the Great Depression in the US in the 1920s and 30s.

Cracking Economics is split into eight chapters, that are of course related, but which assess different areas such as the markets, business, macroeconomics, economic policy, financial and global economics. As a general rule, the topics become slightly more challenging the further into the book you get, though once tuned in, it does become easier to follow. We found a few instances at the start of the book where we became lost on terminology – since there’s no logical starting point in simply explaining an expansive subject like economics – but a glossary at the back of the book is indispensable in guiding you through to the later chapters.

The book isn’t suitable for serious students of the subject or for those with detailed prior knowledge, since it would be too basic; but for a bit of insight into what went wrong in Greece, why boom and bust are cyclical and why the Gold Standard was abandoned, as well as hundreds of other interesting nuggets, you won’t go wrong with Cracking Economics. This book will sharpen your knowledge and arm you with facts, figures, and a better understanding of the concepts to not only break the ice at parties but join in the financial debates you may normally dodge, too.

Publisher: Octopus Release Date: 21st September 2017

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